Newhaven Port issues urgent warning about youngsters’ dangerous behaviour

Newhaven Port Authority is urging parents to make children aware of the dangers of playing in and around the port. The warning comes following reports of young people jumping off the pier and swimming across the river.

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In another incident earlier this month a group of young people were caught throwing stones at boats which caused damage to a vessel working in the area. Windows were broken and the vessel had to be withdrawn from service which can result in delays to the ferry service to France.

Michael Smewing, CEO and Port Manager at Newhaven Port Authority said: “We’re really concerned about these incidences as behaviour like this can result in life changing injuries or deaths. We want young people and their parents to be aware of the dangers it may cause to themselves or others.”

Newhaven Ferry Port is the closest port to London with ferry links to France.  There are many other vessels working and passing by including pilot boats, windfarm crew transfer vessels, fishing vessels and recreational craft. 

The Port Authority has published a safety report on its website to highlight the dangers of playing in and around the port.  These include risk of drowning and serious injury.

James Johnson, Newhaven Lifeboat Crew Member and Press Officer also said: “Swimming in a port is incredibly dangerous.  The continuous movement of boats means there is a high risk of injury from hazards in the water.

“However strong a swimmer you may be, there is a very real risk of being swept out to sea in the strong currents and an added risk of cold-water shock. As the body enters the water it reacts to the cold, forcing your heart to work faster and breathing to increase rapidly. This shock can induce heart attacks even in the young and fit. Cold water shock can also rapidly lead to drowning as you gasp for air. 

“If you find yourself in this situation our advice is to float on your back until you can control your breathing, and then try to swim or get help. If you see someone in danger either on or beside the water dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.”